May is Mom’s Month and all of our newsletters this month are focusing on Mom’s and Mothering. But before any woman can become a mom, there has to be a Dad. So this week we want to talk about the special role Dad’s play in the lives of Moms and babies.
Adjusting to parenthood is very intense for Dads. Like Moms, you suddenly have a new role. You are now responsible for this little life’s well being and you now have “a family”. Many Dad’s feel a new pressure to be “the breadwinner” to be sure that your baby is provided for.
Because newborns are so totally helpless and dependent Dads sometimes feel awkward, and unsure of themselves. As babies snuggle into their moms’ breast to feed, Dads can feel left out and excluded from this close and intimate relationship. They may wonder how they too can become close to their babies.
Dads bring something very special to their babies. They relate in a different way and have a range of ways to connect and bond with their babies. Some Dads feel that if they can’t feed the baby they can’t connect. This is simply not true.
There are many other ways to build your relationship. Here are some ideas.
- Babies need cuddling and soothing – Dads have a particular gift for soothing fussy babies. Many babies respond very well to Dads’ low, deep voice.
- Dads are really good at the “colic hold” to comfort a fussy baby – Dads’ wide, strong arms provide calm steady pressure on babies upset tummies (see image above)
- Dads have a special touch that feels soothing to babies – Dads are great at Baby Massage Check out this link that tells about it. http://pit-a-pat-a.co.uk/index.php?id=dads
- Dads are great at bathing babies – Many Dads take on the role as “bath guy” and it becomes part of their unique relationship with their babies. Once past the beginning newborn stage, bath time becomes tons of fun for the two of you to share, and you can maintain this role for years.
- Babies need diaper changes – This is another area where Dads can develop a very special relationship. If you start changing diapers from the start, you will get used to it and good at it. Once baby is a few months old diaper changing becomes another great time to laugh, talk and play together.
- Babies love to be read to – Yes, even the tiniest of babies love being held, cuddled and read to by your deep soothing voice. Start this early and you will have another ongoing way to connect and communicate.
- Babies love lying on Dad’s bare chest – Many Dads say that some of their fondest memories of the early months is having their newborns sleep on their chests. Babies are comforted by your breathing, your voice, your warmth, your stroking their backs, and even the movement of your Adam’s Apple!
And there is one more important way to help your babies’ development: It is said that the very best thing Dads can do for their babies, is to really love their moms! The more you love and support her, take care of her, acknowledge her extreme fatigue, her intense mothering hormones, her deep connection to your baby, her commitment to your babies’ well being, the happier she will be. And the happier she is, the happier you will be, and the happier you both are, the happier your baby!
All the research is showing that Dads are as important as Moms in children’s development. Take the plunge and try a wide array of ways to connect with your baby. As you do you will find more things you can do together and your relationship will grow and flourish. You’ll form a long, lifetime bond.